February 7, 2010

Wrestling Secures Decisive Wins Over Columbia, Hofstra

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Cornell’s wrestling team (5-4-1) has faced some tough competition so far this season, including the likes of No. 2 Iowa State and No. 8 Lehigh. But this Saturday, the Red returned home to the Friedman Wrestling Center and cranked out two decisive victories. The first came over the Columbia Lions (6-5-1), 37-3, and the second over the Hofstra Pride (5-10-2), 37-6, later in the day.

Mike Grey, a junior ranked 11th at 133 pounds, dominated, with Columbia sophomore Andrew Grabfelder managing only two escapes. In contrast, Grey had a total of four takedowns and three near falls spread throughout the three rounds. Grey took the win by major decision, 17-2.

There was almost pity in the crowd for freshman Kyle Dake’s competitor, fellow freshman Ryan Doyle, as the match was over within the first round and Doyle left the mat with a look of exasperation on his face. Dake secured a takedown in the first 10 seconds and a pin less than a minute and a half later. The winning streak continued with Corey Manson at 149 pounds against Columbia freshman Steve Santos, 5-2. When asked if the team’s mentality changes when matched up against an unranked team in comparison to their last competitor, No. 2 Iowa State, Dake maintained, “We’re just trying to beat everyone, just trying to get after it every time.”

The Red incurred its first loss of the day at 157 pounds. It was close, as senior John Basting was down by just one point with 45 seconds left in the final round. When the two wrestlers returned to the center of the mat soon after, Bastings checked the clock knowing he needed to secure points in those last 25 seconds. Columbia’s Matt Dunn, however, managed a takedown and secured a win by decision, 6-3.

Junior Justin Kerber cinched a victory by decision, 6-4, against Columbia junior Eren Civan after going into sudden victory. Kerber had secured one takedown in the first round and two escapes total while Civan secured two escapes of his own and a takedown in the second round. With 15 seconds left, Kerber got the takedown he needed to win.

The nation’s top wrestler at 174 pounds, junior Mack Lewnes, pinned his competition, Lion junior Ryan Patrovich, in their second round. Patrovich had only managed one escape compared to Lewnes’ two takedowns and two near falls, garnering him nine points.

The Red finished especially strong, claiming victory in the final three weight classes. At 184 pounds, Columbia senior Cary Aldrich didn’t manage a single point against the Red’s sophomore Steve Bosak, ranked No. 17 in the country. At 197 pounds, sophomore Cam Simaz, No. 5, won his match by major decision against Columbia senior Lou Miller with an ending score of 12-3 and a time advantage of 3:02.

Senior heavyweight wrestler Josh Arnone took on sophomore Kevin Lester for the Lions. With three escapes and three takedowns, Arnone won by decision, 9-5, ending the meet in the Red’s favor with a team score of 37-3.

The Columbia match marked the beginning of the Ivy leg of the wrestling team’s schedule. Head coach Rob Koll surveyed the less-than stellar crowd in attendance at the Freidman Center and admitted that dual matches aren’t ideal for attracting an audience, but do serve as a good opportunity for the team to secure some wins.

Lewnes was in agreement, saying, “He sets it up so we have a harder schedule in the beginning and then a cruising Ivy league schedule right before the qualifying match and NCAA tournament.”

Enthusiasm was not lacking, however, as the devoted Redman was in attendance. “Redman” is the spandex-covered fellow who body thrusts and fist pumps at all the appropriate times. He even graced the Red crowd to his own interpretive dance to Beyonce’s smash, “Single Ladies.”

An hour and a half after beating Columbia, the Red returned to the mat against the Hofstra Pride. Nickerson maintained a perfect day, preventing Hofstra freshman Jamie Franco from claiming any points. Nickerson proved to be the controlling force at 125 pounds, with a time advantage of 3:39 in addition to two takedowns and an escape.

Mike Grey stayed consistent also, winning his second match by major decision, 18-7, against Hofstra’s Luke Vaith. Grey managed three escapes compared to Vaith’s three in the first two rounds, but racked up the majority of his points in the final round. That’s when he initially escaped from the down position in the first five seconds, and then cinched five takedowns. Grey finished with a total time advantage of 3:02.

At 141 pounds, Kyle Dake was back to defeat Hofstra’s Tyler Banks by technical fall, without Banks managing any points. The matchup ended 15-0 with Dake securing two takedowns and four near falls, in addition to one escape.

Corey Manson came out at 149 pounds division against Hofstra’s Ryan Colmer. Manson finished with a stellar time advantage of 5:05. In the first round, he garnered one escape and a takedown. Manson managed a takedown but also surrendered a point to the red for stalling. The second round saw one takedown for Manson and one escape for Colmer. It was the final round where Manson got the most action with one escape and three takedowns, compared to Colmer’s three escapes.

A trying moment came for the Red when, in the 157 pound matchup, senior John Basting incurred an injury to his shoulder at the hands of Hoftstra senior Johnny Bonilla-Bowman. The match started out with Bowman securing a takedown and then a near fall. Hoftstra was given six points by default due to injury and Bastings was immediately tended to on the mat.

Justin Kerber found himself in sudden victory again, but again managed to pull out a win. This time, it was against Hoftsra’s PJ Gillespie who is ranked No. 17 nationally. Neither wrestler managed any points in the first round, and Kerber just matched Gillespie’s second round escape with one of his own in the final round. However, during sudden victory he proved dominant with a takedown, 3-1.

Mack Lewnes stole the spotlight during the matchup at 174 pounds, in which Lewnes secured his 37th career pin against Hofstra senior Jon Rothman. Lewnes started off with a takedown within the first 20 seconds of competition and a near fall soon after. This pin tied Lewnes with the university record for most career pins. In regards to whether Lewnes expected the milestone he kept his humility in tact by saying, “Not that I would count the chickens before they hatch.”

At 184 pounds, Steve Bosak took his second victory as he defeated Hofstra’s Ben Clymer, 4-1. Bosak picked up a takedown and an escape, while Clymer managed one escape. With seconds left in the third round, the Hofstra side went into a frenzy claiming Clymer had gained an advantage. The ref, however, decisively denied this instead pointing out a holding violation, awarding the Red an additional point.

Cam Simaz’s second matchup of the day went a lot like his first in that Hofstra senior Anthony Tortora managed only escapes to Simaz’s five takedowns. Simaz secured his first takedown in the first 30 seconds of the first round and also managed to escape from the starting down position in just eight seconds in the last round. The highlight of Simaz’s performace was of course the pin in the third round that brought the overall team score to 34-6.

Josh Arnone finished off the Red’s victorious day with a shutout against the Pride’s Paul Snyder. Arnone racked up two takedowns and one escape, plus one point due to stalling by Snyder. The final score was 6-0 and Arnone had a time advantage of 2:37.

The Red will continue its Ivy schedule with two away matches next Saturday against Penn and Princeton. With just a few matches left before Nationals, the team attributes much of its success to coach Koll.

“He’s a great coach, he knows exactly what to do to make sure we peak at the right times,” Lewnes said.

Original Author: Chyanne Eyde